DETROIT, Mich. (WLNS) – General Motors has reversed course on California’s stricter emissions standards.
The company says it can support those standards if they are mostly achieved by promoting sales of electric vehicles.
California has had the power to set stricter emissions standards for cars since the 1970’s, a power granted to help alleviate the notorious smog problem around major West Coast cities. Since then, more than a dozen other states have signed on to those stricter standards.
Then-President Donald Trump sought to remove California’s ability to set its own standards in 2019, saying it hurt competition and made new car models less safe. Unlike several other major automakers, General Motors supported that effort by the Trump administration.
Wednesday’s announcement by GM reverses that position and follows discussions between GM CEO Mary Barra and EPA Administrator Michael Regan. However, GM’s proposal to accelerate its transition to electric vehicles falls short of calls for stricter emissions standards on gas-powered vehicles.
Fully electric vehicles accounted for less than 2% of new auto sales in the U.S. last year, but the market is growing, and major automakers are betting big on new technology in the field.
Different automakers also have differing views on the best ways to reduce emissions. Toyota says in states where most electricity is generated from burning coal, gas-electric hybrids are actually cleaner than fully-electric cars.